EDMONTON OILERS 3
I must admit I’m a little conflicted writing this report. This game had many ebbs and flows and was a lot to follow.
We started out like gangbusters. It wouldn’t have mattered if Penner’s good drive followed by a weak shot hadn’t resulted in a goal. Subsequently we had a few good shifts that generated some really good chances that we needed to score on.
After that the first period was quite ugly to be honest. We had so many chances to do good things; including on powerplays and did nothing. We had some of the ugliest and most disorganized shifts I’ve seen in a LONG time. I don’t know where they came from or particularly why but it just wasn’t pretty at all. Ales specifically looked as frustrated and disoriented as I’ve seen him in a long time. We were driving the sides and getting shut down at the line every time until the second.
Once the second was a few minutes old I thought we played pretty well for the rest of the game. We were certainly around the net and in better position this game. It took a couple lucky breaks and an utterly stupid Canucks squad to give us this win. We need to be a lot better on the PP. Two 5-on-3’s and nothing at all? Including one where the Canucks best 2 defencemen were in the box? That’s not okay.
Kevin Bieksa has unfortunately caught Canuck syndrome and become a cheapo wuss like the rest of em. Watching Ohlund act like he’s something special and then back down from everyone is just sad…The more I watch of this team the more pathetic they get.
We made all their effective offensive players look invisible tonight. That’s credit to our D men who did a great job all night. But let’s not get to intricate here; on to PLAYER REPORTS
- I think that’s how stars overcome the fact that they’re having a bad game. Credit to MacTavish for sending him back out onto the ice and double-shifting him numerous times to try and get him going. He had a rough time and nothing was working in the first. In the second he pops the most important goal of the night; shows you how much anger that got off his chest and goes on to have a very effective rest of the game. It was great that he recovered like that. Taking the shot on the 3-on-1 I view a little differently than most; I think if he’s having a good game he makes a dynamic move and then dishes to Souray for a sweet goal. He shot because he was aggravated and the passes weren’t working; but being Ales it was a pretty damn fine shot and it went in anyway. Whatever works! Loved how he drove the net and drew a penalty so soon after that as well. Great play from him after the frustrating first.
- Despite a weak faceoff effort tonight; I felt Horcoff was fairly effective. He was superb in the defensive zone including a great little play from his knees at the end of the game to clear the puck out. He was just really solid all game long. Not great offensively again but he could work on it. Certainly did a decent job distributing once he was in the offensive zone on the PP. He’s also begun coming closer to the net on occasion for the cross-ice one-timer which is good. He really should’ve scored on the chance with Cole that hit the post but in the end it didn’t matter.
- Didn’t particularly love him out there tonight but he wasn’t bad either. His play to hold the man off before his goal was much more impressive than the actual goal. I saw a bit of drive to the net and some good positioning in his game tonight; which is why I think he succeeds largely, but nothing extra special. He needs to remember how good of a passer he can be and use that skill to create room for Hemsky more often.
- Marc adapted his game pretty well to play with these guys. He was a little more physical and certainly simplified things a fair bit. I didn’t like his offensive zone entry and lack of using his reach to his advantage but did like the hitting and positioning. Stortini and Strudwick I’m a little conflicted over as I’m not sure whether their play kept guys like Kesler out of the game or simply brought the crummier guys into a more prominent role. Having this line in place certainly limited our offensive options during the stagnant first and early second which perturbed me. They were fairly effective physically, but we need what they gave so rarely that I don’t know if it’s anything particularly monumental. They also didn’t draw the penalties the Canucks took; that was our skilled players drawing those so they don’t get credit for that. They policed the ice at the end of the game but I didn’t see a tired Canucks squad trying anything too stupid. Credit to MacTavish I GUESS…for this possibly working. But I also hope he’s smart enough to realize there’s no use for this line against Chicago…or just about any other team in the league.
- Andrew was flying but unfortunately he was often flying solo in this one. The kids really varied in their levels of play tonight. I loved that Nilsson took advantage of the break he was given so well and that certainly helped us out. Gagner was all over the place. He was really weak on the puck for about 3 shifts but had about 5 where he was offensive dynamite and there’s no way he shouldn’t have scored. He also took some weak shots though where last year he would’ve made sure of a strong effort and probably scored. I have a hard time judging him tonight as he was just that variable. Robert was better defensively at clearing the puck and being in place than he was at anything offensive. He and Cogliano controlled the puck behind the net alright but I think that was more Cogliano. Andrew was really solid defensively and did what he could offensively. I hope he keeps up his high effort level and great skating choices.
- Moreau started out at the strongest. He was skating really well and making hits to get things going. Took a couple nice shots that just didn’t connect. Brodziak was just really solid all night. I liked how he challenged the ‘Nucks after that hit on Cole and didn’t back down in the least. Shows you what a versatile player can do for a team. Would’ve loved to see him pop one tonight. Cole picked up more as the game went on but I’m conflicted with him…it was great to see him hit and drive and draw penalties but we’re not paying him to be an energy guy. We need GOALS from Erik Cole and I just don’t see how we’re going to get them. I can’t recall a single strong shot from him in ages now. Everything is weak, telegraphed, and at the chest. He also NEVER gets to pucks right in front. He just seems to be a horrible slot player. I don’t know what the deal is quite simply. Can anyone pick anything out comparing highlights from his effective play? He’s also not looking very fast at all right now; maybe he’s playing injured this year?
- Probably the best game I’ve seen this pair (which I HATE) play. Staios was really aggressive which was best exemplified by his charge for a loose puck on the PK straight out of his own box. Awesome. Steve is best when he’s aggressive because he wins battles in the corners on effort rather than talent or physicality. He won those battles tonight and made good plays with the puck after he won them. Smid’s pinching was simply a treat to watch. He was so effective taking the body and the puck and created nothing but havoc for the Canucks. His outlet passes were also really solid. Loved the game he played tonight.
- Really solid game from these guys; don’t think I can recall a real giveaway. Tom is back to his old self I’m pretty sure in that he’s holding onto the puck, skating and moving guys off the puck with his body. Those are the biggest things he does. He also moved the puck solidly, played excellent D and was a great pairing with Souray on the PP. Another very good thing I must recognize the coaching staff has actually done since the beginning of the year. Souray really shoulda scored tonight. He got off a number of quality blasts that hit things like the post and Bieksa’s face, but also had a number of other chances. He was a good decoy on the Hemsky goal but he still coulda executed better tonight. Drew a penalty nicely by jumping up into the rush as well.
- I didn’t see the supposed 3 giveaways from Denis. I thought he was excellent and moved his feet amazingly well all night. Never panicked with the puck at all. Ink this guy NOW and solidify our blue line for years to come. Lubomir probably had the only obvious giveaway from our D all night that could’ve been dangerous, and again he’s just so good it doesn’t matter because he recovered. His shooting and offensive zone passing left a little to be desired as he’s usually more effective than that; but there’s only so much you can knock a guy who turns in another solid performance. Having 2 all-star blue liners is FUN.
- He played quite well. He was in control of his positioning all night and stood square. He got a great effort from the D but made the solid saves he needed to make. He kept his technical level very high and didn’t drift into old mistakes. Puckhandled like junk but what else is new…Liked his game. Save him for Wednesday however; give Garon Tuesday against the dynamic young Hawks.
Win’s a win; especially against these Canucks jerks. I wouldn’t chalk this up as perfect though; we can be a lot better and we’re going to need to be.
One step at a time though. Good bounce-back.